“Two can play,” I warned.
She grinned. “That’s what I’m counting on.”
“Where will you go from here?” I asked Gideon as he escorted me into the lobby of my apartment building. The Upper West Side was my home—for now. Gideon’s penthouse was on the Upper East. The vast green expanse of Central Park divided us, one of the few things between us that was easily crossed.
I waved at Chad, one of the night staff at the front desk. He smiled back at me and gave a polite nod to Gideon.
“I’m going up with you,” Gideon replied, his hand pressed lightly against the small of my back.
I was hyperaware of that touch. It conveyed possession and control effortlessly, and made me so hot. Which only made it harder for me to deny us both when we reached the elevator. “We need to say good-bye right here, ace.”
“I don’t have the willpower,” I confessed, feeling the pull of his need. He’d always been able to lure me in just by the force of his will. It was one of the things I loved about him, one of the ways I knew we were meant to be. The connection we had, it was soul-deep. “You and me with a bed nearby is a bad idea.”
He stared down at me with a wry curve to his lips that was sexy as hell. “That’s what I’m counting on.”
“Count down instead—to our wedding. That’s what I’m doing. Minute by minute.” And it was excruciating. My physical connection to Gideon was as vital to me as our emotional one. I loved him. Loved touching him, soothing him, giving him what he needed … My right to do so meant everything to me.
I gripped his forearm, gently squeezing the rock-hard muscle beneath his sleeves. “I’m missing you, too.”
“You don’t have to miss me.”
Pulling him aside, I lowered my voice. “You say when, you say how,” I murmured, repeating the basic tenet of our sex life. “And part of me really wants you to say when right now. But there’s something I want more than that. I’ll call you later tonight, after I talk to Cary a bit, and tell you what that is.”
The smile faded. His gaze turned avid. “You can just come next door and tell me now.”
I shook my head. When Nathan had been a threat, Gideon had taken up residence in the apartment directly beside mine, watching over me and ensuring I was safe, even though I didn’t know it. He could do that sort of thing because he owned the building, one of many that belonged to him in the city.
“You need to go to the penthouse, Gideon. Just relax and enjoy that beautiful place we’ll be sharing soon.”
“It’s not the same without you there. It feels empty.”
That hit me hard. Before I’d come along, Gideon had structured his life so he could be alone in every way—work interspersed with occasional hookups and avoidance of his family. I’d changed that, and I didn’t want him to regret it.
“Now’s your chance to get rid of all the things you don’t want me to find when I move in,” I teased, still trying to keep things light.
“You know all my secrets.”
“Tomorrow, we’ll be together in Westport.”
“Tomorrow’s too far away.”
Pushing up onto my tiptoes, I kissed his jaw. “You’ll sleep through some of it and work through the rest.” Then I whispered, “We could sext. You can see how creative I can be.”
“I prefer the original over reproductions.”
I dropped my voice to a purr. “Video, then. With sound.”
He turned his head and caught my lips, taking my mouth in a long, deep kiss. “This is love,” he murmured. “Agreeing to this.”
“I know.” I smiled and pulled back to hit the button for the elevator. “You could send me naughty pics, too, you know.”
His eyes narrowed. “You want pictures of me, angel, you’ll have to take them yourself.”
Backing into the elevator, I wagged a finger at him. “Spoilsport.”
The doors started to close. I had to grip the handrail to stop myself from dashing back out to him. Happiness came in so many forms. Mine was Gideon.
“Miss me,” he ordered.
I blew him a kiss. “Always.”
When I opened the door to my apartment, I was hit with two things at once: the smell of recent cooking and the sounds of Sam Smith.
It felt like home. But I was abruptly struck with sadness that it wouldn’t be home for much longer. Not that I doubted the future I’d accepted when I married Gideon, because I didn’t. I was so excited about the thought of living with him, being his wife in private and public, sharing my days—and nights—with him. Still, change was harder when you were happy with the pre-change version of your life.